SABE was one of six organizations that were awarded a Regional Self Advocacy Technical Assistance grant by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, AIDD. The name of the project is called Our Community Standing Strong Grant (OCSS). The grant is to enhance work in the southern collaborative states through peer to peer technical assistance.

Our Community Standing Strong Team

View OCSS Event Photos

Participating states

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Other allies who worked with self advocacy leaders on this project included: DD Councils, P & A’s, UCEDD’s, the ARC’s, State Intellectual and Developmental Disability agencies in each of the states.

Outcomes of the project included:

The Project was led by Co-Directors Chaqueta Stuckey, North Carolina and Vicki Hicks Turnage, Alabama. Additional support for the project was provided by Glenda Hyman Singletary, North Carolina, and Juliana Huerena, Arizona.

Our Community Standing Strong: The Finale!

It all began in October 2013 – Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) was awarded a grant by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) to establish Our Community Standing Strong (OCSS) for the Southern Collaborative states. What an exiting moment to know that the Southern states would be in a position to revive the self advocacy movement in the South. The Project starting with eight states and ending with nine states.

There were many challenges that were faced among the participating states. However, nothing could stop the energy, dedication, commitment and the passion of the OCSS advisory committee and supports in moving forward with the work on self advocacy.

Many accomplishments have also been harvested during this period of time. Listed below are some of our proudest work. It likewise helps us validate the significance of OCSS.

  • 1,360 Needs Assessments Surveys completed, which includes surveys from SW Alliance (total 2,222), Individual Needs Assessment Results
  • 9 State Organizational Needs Assessments completed
  • 18 Recorded Webinars on various organizational topics
  • 79 Video Blogs on important disability issues, to include OCSS State Challenges and Successes
  • 17 My Technology Handbook Video Blogs
  • 6 Face to Face Meetings throughout the south (Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia)
  • Strong Partnership Collaborations with DD Network and local communities
  • Informative Vote Presentations from NDRN/Disability Rights Florida/FL State University/Elections Assistance Commissioner before the Presidential elections
  • Demonstration from Florida University Students on electronic voting devices
  • On-site self advocacy organizational Technical Assistance (Alabama and Arkansas)
  • New and updated State reports and plans for each state
  • Collaboration with other Self Advocacy Regional Technical Assistance Centers: Southwest Alliance and NEAT
  • Increase membership for SABE
  • Ongoing Facebook Postings of project activities
  • Website Postings of project activities
  • State sustainability Plans for continued support after the project has ended
  • Training and Leadership Development for OCSS Advisory members and supports
  • Development of employment opportunities for self advocates on the OCSS advisory committee

While there was powerful iteration throughout our collaboration, we have fueled the self advocacy movement in the south and diversified our relationships. We will forever be bonded by the impact OCSS has made.  It has enriched and enhanced our ability to ensure self advocacy is alive and thriving. Most of all, we have learned how to work together and make a difference for all people. OCSS will continue its work by sustaining the movement with support through relationships and partnerships at the community level.

Contact for more information about OCSS:

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